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starting playschool and no tears in sight

My baby starts playschool in a fortnight's time. Goodness, where has the time flown? It seems like only yesterday I was holding this tiny, wrinkled, premature creature in my arms, terrified about taking on such an enormous responsibility. I hadn't gone to any parenting classes and had never had the sole charge of anything other than a cat. But we made it!

People say it's quite an emotional time for parents taking their eldest to playschool for the first time. And I, too, was wondering if I would shed a tear at the gates. After all, my Gary is an only child, I am a single mum, and we're inseparable.

But the time is right to send him to playschool. He's got to learn how to mix with children of his own age because, right now, unfortunately, he thinks he is the centre of the entire universe. He also needs to learn how to share because the word 'mine' is being used much more than it should be in our house.

The staff in this playschool insist that all tots need to be potty trained before attending. So the rush was on over the past few weeks to hurry this training along. It takes time and patience -- get a few good DVDs and place the potty in front of the player. Oh, and if you're think of purchasing new carpets, this is definitely not a good time to do it!

Potty training is a messy hit-and-miss affair but now that we have, save the odd little accident, mastered it, I love not to having to spend all my hard-earned cash on nappies and being able to treat myself again.

Anyway, my point is that it's best not to be too house proud during this transition and have the mop ready.



worries

The nice lady at the playschool said that I should take Gary up some morning so that he can see the school before he starts. I was worried that he might feel intimidated by the other kids as he is so young. I dressed him up in his best clothes to make a good impression and I dolled myself up a bit too.

We arrived at the playschool which is the same one I went to when I was little. The same lady is running the school. She hugged me and told me that I had got so big since she last saw me. Well, I should hope so. It's been more than 30 years! I was about to introduce her to Gary but he was gone. Instead of clinging shyly to my coat-tails he had hurled himself towards the slide in the middle of the garden knocking off a little girl in a pretty pink dress. To say I was mortified was an understatement. To think I'd thought that it might be a bit overwhelming for my little boy! I rushed over to help the little girl to her feet and then lifted Gary off the slide. He roared and he screamed.

"Bye-bye Mummy," he yelled. "Bye-bye."

I literally had to drag him away.

"We'll see you in a fortnight's time," said the playschool owner as though nothing out of the ordinary was happening.

"Yes, indeed, thanks," I replied.

I can safely say I won't be needing the tissues.